1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi all! No longer will threads be closed after 1000 (ish) messages. We may close if one gets so long to cause an issue and if you would like a thread closed to start a new one after a 1000 posts then just use the "Report Post" function. Enjoy!

Monica Friedlander: "International Skating Union Now Officially a Dictatorship"

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Maofan7, Jun 30, 2012.

Should Cinquanta Stand Down And Make Way For A New President?

Poll closed Jul 31, 2012.
  1. Yes

    151 vote(s)
  2. No

    13 vote(s)
  3. Don't Know/No Opinion On The Matter/Unsure

    20 vote(s)
  1. Nomad

    Nomad Celebrity cheese-monger

    ^ IOW, go back to 6.0?
  2. judiz

    judiz Well-Known Member


    No, because 6.0 didn't explain how the score was decided, but if the viewers are told a skater's routine has a start value of 198.50 and at the end of the routine, the score is posted as 185.00, the viewer knows how many points were deducted for skills left out, falls or under-rotations. In the current system, the casual viewer cannot follow how a skater could fall on a jump, slide across the ice and still wind up on the podium.

    I know my idea needs a lot of tweaking and probably doesn't make sense to most but the idea came to me watching the women's olympic trials last weekend, I had no trouble following the scoring in the gymnastics.
  3. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

    It's entirely unrealistic to apply the sort of judging system to a Men's Free Skate that lasts four minutes and thirty seconds as is applied to a gymnastics vault that takes about six seconds to execute. Unless, of course, you want to eliminate scoring for interpretation, choreography, performance, and execution.
  4. Morry Stillwell

    Morry Stillwell Well-Known Member

    Also, the gymnastics valt starts with a base value and the judges only apply deductions.
  5. judiz

    judiz Well-Known Member

    Concede it was a stupid idea
  6. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    There's no reason to diminish +GOE on the technical side to dumb it down for the audience. The commentators could just as easily say that the planned base value is X, and when the technical scores come up, compare planned to earned for TES, and then compare components maximum (50, 40, 100, 80, etc.) for that discipline and segment.

    To the left of the data provided on the host feed, they could publish something like this, with proper formatting:
    (Example, Ashley Wagner's FS at Nice)

    SB: 128.34

    Planned: Executed:

    TES: 57.70 62.91

    PCS: 80.00 57.44

    Total 137.44 120.61 ​

    Alternately, and probably more easily understood

    Planned: Executed:

    TES: 57.70 62.91 +5.21

    PCS avg: 7.18 of 10​
  7. Mathman

    Mathman Active Member

    No, I like your first idea better:

    Planned PCS: 80.00 :cool: (The best laid plans of mice and men...)

    In general, though, about changing figure skating scoring to make it more like scoring in gymnastics, or diving, or equestrian, or trampoline -- I think that spotlights the problem. These sports do not aspire to attract viewers and spectators.
  8. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    80 doesn't mean anything to the average viewer, though, especially since it's 80 for the Ladies and Pairs FS, but 40 for Ladies and Pairs SP, but 100 for the Men's FS and 50 for Men's SP, and then who knows in Ice Dance with the different weightings per component. People understand that Men do harder jumps, and their base will likely be higher, although if Mao Asada rotates her 3A, she gets the same base as Patrick Chan, but why is it again that Men get 20% more points for the exact same criteria for components?

    I think average on a scale of 1-10 is easily understood by both the average fan and the :COP:, since, for the most part, PCS are marked in such a narrow range by each judge, and seeing the SS mark is a great predictor of the rest.

    ETA: I think it's possible to present the existing IJS scoring in a way that makes it more understandable for those watching on TV, and gives the commentators data points to work with. When they make the same comparisons over and over, it's a teaching tool. It only takes a few gymnasts worth to get the drift. They don't have to change the scoring system at all.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
  9. gingercrush

    gingercrush Well-Known Member

  10. judiz

    judiz Well-Known Member

    She's written many articles, mostly for Blades on Ice and other skating magazines.
  11. bmcg

    bmcg Well-Known Member

    It´s interesting that she uses Toller Cranston to help prove her point and in the previous article used Patrick Chan as an example of all that is wrong with the new system because I don't think Toller is thinking of Patrick Chan in those comments. Toller has been very complimentary towards Chan.
  12. Morry Stillwell

    Morry Stillwell Well-Known Member

    If she realy knew much about the rules. she would be commenting on the requirments for a well ballance program. The WBP specifies the requiments while IJS only rules on how the WBP is evaluated. That may too deep for the writer to understand. WBPs have continued to be modifed each year and have nothing to do with the system of evaluation. Yes, as I judge I like IJS and we still use 6.0 for lower level catagories in the United States. I do not mind switching back and forth.

    I seems that many comments on this subject have been based on watching a competition on TV. There is a much different impression when viewed rinkside or from the judges hot seat. The good here is that we do not have to listen to "talking heads" drivel and must make our own decisions.:)
  13. tralfamadorian

    tralfamadorian Member

    My Russian is very limited and I've only watched Russian commentary when Zhulin was there :)cool:) but based on those couple of times it's clear that the people in the commentary box can see the judges scores come up real time and they know the score before it comes up on the screen, they can also see the level calls of the tech panel already during the performance and also if something was marked for review. Not that they need the latter because they can see with their own eyes if a twizzle was three-turned or a step sequence not clean, etc.
    I don't know if it's the same for the other disciplines (I assume it is), but it is for sure way more informative to watch with that kind of commentary and I wish everyone did it that way. (It would also go a long way convincing people that fs is not a fixed beauty contest but that there are actually some objective technical requirements/mistakes that the experts can in fact see.)
    Lanna and (deleted member) like this.
  14. bmcg

    bmcg Well-Known Member

    Bolded that part because it has always amused me how some critics of IJS will say in disgust how the system caters to certain skaters. How a skater won because they checked all the boxes as if it's a bad thing.

    The way I see the system is that it rewards a skater who can jump well, spin well, skate well, do difficult turns and steps well, distributes their jump elements well throughout their program, has good choreography, performs well.... Isn't that a good thing?:D
  15. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    From the new article:

    "Benefitted the most"? That's debatable. Many other skaters have done very well under the new system too.

    :rolleyes: Maybe this "journalist" should do some research into why the changes came about. Nobody oversees the ISU, so no one "tasked" the ISU with anything. And even if you don't like what the ISU did, they did not overstep their authority, because there isn't a higher authority they are accountable to.
  16. BreakfastClub

    BreakfastClub Active Member

    No it's not. Vault is the exception. Other gymn apparatus allow up to 8 scoring elements for women and 10 for men and then they get bonuses for connections and variety. Skating SPs only have 7 scoring elements - less than a any beam, floor, high bar, p-bars, etc. routine. Free skates have 11 (ladies) or 13 (men), not much more than men's gymn routine.
  17. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    I have found the British commentators on Eurosport are very good. They have that information too so can provide informed commentary on the levels and why skaters do well or not so well. But they call it as they see it, rather than talk about perceptions of the system.
  18. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    Can't speak for Russia, but it's popular in Japan because they have a generation of superstar skaters first and foremost. Otherwise you wouldn't have three or four Japanese TV networks flinging money at the ISU for the broadcast rights to various events.

    TV commentators in Japan have always tended to be very unbiased. Generally, they'll explain why they think a certain skater received the marks they did rather than just stating that they think the marking is right or wrong. That hasn't changed between when it was 6.0 and IJS.

    They certainly do a lot better at getting the average viewer to understand how IJS works. I've seen them give benchmarks, ie 60 points for a ladies SP is a pretty good score.

    I think giving too much information is a turnoff. Keep it simple innit.
  19. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Friedlander's new article is no better than the previous one; would it kill her to link to the articles she's referring to? As a science writer she should know better. And this was just :huh::
    I mean, didn't doing away with figures represent a major change in how skating was measured and performed?

    Obviously there's plenty to discuss about the merits of the system and its weaker points, but less hyperbole and more factual discussion are better.

    I wrote earlier that some of the decline in skating popularity have more to do with changes in the way people consume media and entertainment, and I don't know if skating can or will get back to the level of popularity it once enjoyed in the US; probably not. But still, American commentators could do a better job of explaining what is happening on the ice and why, and I imagine that at least for some viewers, this will indeed be helpful.

    As Aussie Willy pointed out, the Eurosport commentators have been really good at this. In the past they would always point out how the technical panels were on the lookout for UR - I lost track of how many times I heard "if it's more than a quarter of a turn short, it will be marked as a bad double" - and what features the skaters were doing to get the levels up. I don't notice that as much anymore (and URd triples are no longer marked as bad doubles) but they are informative without overwhelming viewers with information. And usually if they criticize, it's on point and not general rants about the system.
  20. walei

    walei Well-Known Member

    Her article is so ridiculously written I'm surprised she didn't simply say skating under the IJS is super popular in Japan/Korea now because Asians are good with math.

    As for the declining popularity, now that I read this thread I definitely think commentators with bias against the new system from the get go are a contributing factor. IIRC, wasn't the coup against ISU with the World Skating Federation was lead by a more North American centric contingency? I don't think the general public would know about the back story but perhaps the commentators who were friendly to the cause still harbors some resentment towards the ISU and the IJS, and it rubs off during their commentating. Just some random thoughts.
  21. sezam

    sezam New Member

    I think that -1.0 deduction for the fall is what bothers most of the people, who are concerned that it is not fair when "Chan is falling, but still winning".

    In my opinion, ISU should have done the same thing with fall as with under-rotated jumps.

    I.e. if someone has UR jump, the value of the jump is 70% of the intended jump's value.

    So, if someone has felt fully rotated jump, the value might be (for instance) 80% of the intended jump's value, and if the falls occurs after the UR jump, it's value might be 56% (both deductions applied) of the intended jump's value.

    Maybe -1.0 deduction for the falls in spins and steps (or anything else - children can fall in crossovers too) can stay as it is...

    In the system as it is now, if pre-juvenile skater falls from 1A, it leaves almost him nothing, not to mention that attempting 1S and a fall earns you -0.6... while (nice) 3A and a fall is still better then any other successful triple.
  22. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    I don't know - do young people watch football or hockey? And was FS's main audience every young? Seems to me that the audience at every competition is largely composed of middle-aged and elder women, who of course never miss the men's practice. :)
  23. kittyjake5

    kittyjake5 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the informaton!
  24. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member


    I generally agree with you. But, playing devil's advocate, we do see situations such as skaters who choose to do only loops, flips, lutzes, and axels because they can get more points that way than "wasting" some of their jump passes on toe loops and salchows. Or they do double toes to get their combinations in but don't attempt triple toes.

    In a broader sense, there are the basic skills that we expect everyone to do and that the well-balanced program rules require them to attempt, de facto or de jure. And then there are various ways that skaters can add difficulty (or choreographic interest) to the basics. Some of those variations and more difficult skills are explicitly rewarded with higher base marks, and some are rewarded only if they inspire some judges to award higher GOEs or PCS, and some are actually penalized (e.g., by filling a slot with a low-value element and therefore causing a higher value element performed later in the program to receive no credit).

    So skaters who show a well-balanced range of skills in ways that conform to the explicit rewards built into the system have an advantage over those who show a well-balanced range of skills in general terms but not in a way that fits the official reward system. Hence the trend toward "cookie-cutter programs" as skaters all try to tailor their programs to earn the most rewards.

    In trying to standardize the scoring for skill sets that allow so many different variations and combinations of skills, there's always going to be a tension between, on the one hand, allowing skaters complete freedom selecting and arranging the skills they want to show and judges complete freedom in deciding what to reward, vs. on the other hand defining exactly how many points each skill is worth and regulating how many times a skater can get credit for each general category and specific subcategory of skills.

    Starting with the Zayak rule in the mid-1980s and the well-balanced program rules starting in the mid-1990s the trend was toward more standardization of free program content.

    (Short programs underwent their most significant change from highly standardized to allowing much more freedom with the 1988-89 changes, although junior requirements soon became moderately standardized again.)

    But then the change in scoring system also involved a big change toward standardization.

    Since all the skills boil down to point values now, I wonder if it would be possible to define even more possible ways to earn TES points and then give skaters back some freedom in choosing exactly which skills they want to use to earn those points. E.g., a total of 13 elements of which 5-8 can be jump passes, 2-5 can be spins, 1-2 step sequences, 0-1 of other types of elements.

    My understanding was that the IOC put a lot of pressure on Cinquanta/the ISU to make changes, especially after 2002.

    But what the IOC wanted -- more quantifiable measurement, more objective insofar as possible for a sport with so much subjectivity in its evaluation -- and what audiences want are often at odds. So who's the higher authority?

    Not even mentioning what figure skaters themselves, and figure skating officials as opposed to speedskaters, actually want.

    Absolutely. I'd say the change in scoring system and scoring philosophy is a change of comparable magnitude to the elimination of figures.

    But don't forget the loss of GOE when falling on a jump or other element. The 1.0 fall deduction is only part of the penalty.

    Elite skaters can fall in crossovers too. Anyone who's off balance, hits an obstacle in the ice surface, gets too close to the boards or a partner's blades, or just isn't paying attention and makes a momentary blade-clicking mistake in crossover technique can fall in crossovers. I don't know that there's much difference in the frequency of this happening between preliminary and senior level.

    Less than nothing. You've forgotten about the negative GOE. Falls on any jump up to double flip result in negative net points after both -3 GOE and the fall deduction are subtracted.

    I think the best solution to that is to make the negative GOE values for triple axels and quads larger than 1 point per grade -- as was the case a few years ago.
  25. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    Plus by 2002 they'd been working on this new judging system for a few years already.

    I can't remember exactly when but I think they started around 1999.
  26. love_skate2011

    love_skate2011 Well-Known Member

    Merlyn Davis :rofl:

    at least I had a good laugh in this article
  27. Morry Stillwell

    Morry Stillwell Well-Known Member

    The ISU is a member Federation of the International Olympic Committee. They are the highest authority for all Eligible Sports, so the ISU is accountable to the IOC.
  28. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    AFAIK the IOC's authority only extends to the ISU's interactions with the IOC in the context of skating being an Olympic sport, i.e. ensuring that skating is structured and operated to be Olympic-eligible.

    If, for example, a skater had a dispute with the ISU over the results of a non-Olympic event, e.g. Worlds, I've never seen any indication that they would be able to resolve it through appealing to the IOC.
  29. Mathman

    Mathman Active Member

    :lol: I was about about to comment favorably about the second article, but that was too funny to let go. :)

    But I do think Ms. Friedlander is on more defensible ground with her second article than with the first. Here her topic is: many former skaters lament that the present judging system has produced programs of less artistic merit than the programs of the past.

    First of all, this is true. Many former skaters have said that.

    If we disagree with the views of these skaters then we have two ways to go. We can say, no, that's wrong. The programs we are seeing today are just as artistic as the programs of earlier eras.

    Or we can say, who cares about that anyway? Higher, faster, stronger!

    Gosh, I don't think so. As great a change as eliminating figures from figure skating? That change completely stood the sport on its head. Instead of being a sport about tracing precise patterns on a sheet of ice it became a sport about jumping and looking pretty.

    Would you agree that the CoP is in part a move back in the direction of figures? Giving a defined reward for blade on ice skills?
  30. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    The thing is, figures weren't eliminated all at once. In 1890 (pre-ISU) or 1908 or even 1939 we could say the sport was primarily about everyone tracing the same precise patterns on a sheet of ice and secondarily about combining tracing patterns of one's choice with variations including jumping from one edge to another and performing other blade-on-ice skills and with looking attractive or spectacular.

    After WWII the jumping and looking pretty parts started to become more and more important, so by the late 60s the tracing the same precise patterns started to be worth less and the freeskating performances starting to be worth more, including the addition of a compulsory freeskating program (short program). By 1988-90, freeskating skills generally determined the winners more than the precise tracing skills.

    And then all of a sudden the precise tracing was gone entirely, and skaters could start to devote all of their training time instead of only approximately half of it to all the different skills involved in freeskating programs -- jumps and "artistry," whatever that means, being the most important.

    Do we see more change in what determined results between 1990 and 1991 or between 2004 and 2005? Or, say 1988-92 and 2002-2006, if you want to look at Olympic years?

    I'd say we see a bigger change for the top ladies in the world with the elimination of figures than with the introduction of IJS, but about the same for men. I wasn't following the sport during 1989-91, nor would I have seen as much of the grassroots practice at that time as in the recent change, so I can't really say what the effects were below the top televised contenders. I might say that ca. 1988-90 the most important determinants for women were tracing precise patterns and looking pretty, and that by 1991 or 1992 the jumps started to become the most important. Whereas for men ca. 1988-90 it was precise patterns and jumps, and in the 90s postfigures the artistry also gained importance.

    Even if we decide that going from 2 figures to none in 1990 to 91 was a bigger change than going from 6.0 to IJS in 2004 to 05 (not counting the 2003 Grand Prix), I'd still say that IJS was the next biggest single paradigm change -- bigger than, say, the introduction of the short program.

    I can understand why one might say that. Certainly the precision of blade-on-ice skills such as jump takeoffs and landings and execution of edges and turns during footwork have become explicitly more important in IJS freestyle programs than in 6.0 freestyle programs, although they were always important to those judges to whom they were important. :D

    I'm not sure I'd say it's a return to anything like everyone tracing the same precise patterns. But I would say that the free program suddenly became more like the short program in structure.

    Of course we're only talking about singles here, since pairs never had compulsory figures and ice dance is a whole different animal in many ways.